TAMIL NADU

Forgotten lesson

THE MEMORY of Chennaiites is short lived. The city residents have breezed through a good monsoon, and the wells in drought-hit West Mambalam to flood prone Velachery are all full.

Gone are the soulful melodies unleashed by a thousand musicians, who were beseeching the rain god to show mercy. Gone are the multi-religious prayers, as the water now flows steadily from the pipes (at least in most areas).

What is also gone is the drive that was pursued with unprecedented vigour. RWH.

A Metrowater engineer gives an off the cuff estimate, that about 25,000 houses/flat complexes in Chennai have installed the system.

Some of those investors have been flowing the liquid gold for two years now, into wells, pits and sumps. They will continue to reap the harvest as and when it rains.

Still, others, starting with the Government departments, are now soft pedalling. No high profile seminars, no discussions, no demonstrations and no media tours. No showcase projects.

Someone was provoked into asking: Metrowater spent a lot of time and effort asking people to adopt RWH. Is it looking at how many have actually done it, whether their water tastes better? Why not put some engineer in charge of studying the impact of its campaign, right down to water quality?

As someone said, ``Everyone loves a good drought.'' Why wait for another one, before letting loose ramshackle killer tankers, usurious crews who will sell water illegally under cover of night for a bribe? Why not more RWH?

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